A town councillor has claimed planning meetings being held by the council are “unlawful”.

Councillor Christopher Ecclestone, who also sits on Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC), made the comments during questions for borough councillors at the town council’s meeting on Wednesday, August 4. He alleged that the informal planning meetings being held by the council do not have sufficient oversight from the full council, which has been denied.

In response to a question from fellow Andover Independents Party member Cllr David Coole regarding the validity of these meetings, he said: “I believe those actions are unlawful as they are not approved by this council. The minutes have never been produced for these meetings so we do not know if they are quorate or not, who is attending, and their submissions are not approved by this council.”

The informal planning observations meetings have been held by the town council since May 10, being held online. During this time, councillors have decided on applications such as that for a lawful use certificate for the Weyhill Road silos, which could lead to their demolition.

Cllr Ecclestone has not been present at some of these meetings, though is invited to them as a member of the planning committee. However, he said he was seeking advice from TVBC on the issue.

He said: “I have asked the head of planning at TVBC for a ruling on what treatment TVBC will be giving these unofficial submissions if they are not actually from this council, and he has advised me that he will consult with the head of legal at TVBC if the outpourings of these unofficial meetings are actually going to be put in a formal submission category on TVBC’s planning portal.”

So far, recommendations from the planning meetings have been accepted as official by TVBC, and there is currently no indication this will change, or that the borough council does not view these meetings as anything other than legal.

Responding to his claims, Cllr Barbara Long, the mayor of Andover, said that she “will not go into details for these council meetings but I can assure you they are quorate.”